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Food Inspections
The Council Bluffs Department of Public Health has entered into an agreement with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, under IA Code 137F, to inspect and license restaurants, grocery stores, bars and taverns, convenience stores, food warehouses, vending machines and liquor stores for violations under the IA code. This also includes temporary and mobile food units for licensing.

We currently have around 380 establishments that are inspected at least once per year within the City of Council Bluffs. Approximately half of those fall under guidelines to inspect twice and three times yearly depending upon the criteria, which we classify as risk category 2 & 3 or medium to high-risk facilities. If we find serious violations, we have the ability to close or issue citations to the owner until the problem is corrected. The emphasis of the food service inspection is evolved around HACCP or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points which follows a potentially hazardous food from the time it arrives into the establishment through storage preparation, service and reheating to reserving to the public.

In addition to the inspections, we follow-up on incidents and accidents involving fire, smoke, water (flooding), power outages, etc. to ensure the food is safe to eat for the general public. We are also responsible for reviewing and approving plans for new restaurant openings. We currently inspect around 7-8 vending operations, involving the sales of ready-to-eat foods kept cold and dairy products as well as fountain pop, coffee, etc.

Furthermore, we inspect approximately 30 schools and cafeterias in the Council Bluffs Community Schools, Saint Albert and Lewis Central School districts. This includes a yearly inspection usually in the fall and also the government funded summer lunch programs at about 11 schools. Other duties include educating the restaurant and school personnel and management in proper food handling. This is most commonly done through a course known as ServSafe. This is an 8-10 hour class that is endorsed by the National Restaurant Association and Department of Education and is currently taught by an instructor from the Department of Inspections and Appeals.

Visit the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals for more information.